The answer is Yes — and No. Yes, the Pentagon said, despite the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman, military chaplains may still perform “marriage” ceremonies between homosexual partners. Barely two weeks after the dropping of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, which effectively prohibited homosexuals from serving in the armed forces, the Pentagon has issued a new policy that will allow military’s chaplains to officiate at same-sex wedding ceremonies.
A memo on the Defense Department website reads: “A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law.” The memo adds, however that “a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion.”
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Photo: The interior of the Catholic Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.